2018 Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlist
IT'S PITCH WARS TIME and I’m all 'Kermit arms flailing' level excited to be here co-mentoring Young Adult with my CP and bestie, Kim Chance! Kim is my main rock and (funny story!) we actually met scrolling through the Pitch Wars hashtag in 2016, so believe it when people tell you community is the most important thing you can take away from Pitch Wars. Forging friendships with other writers is an essential part of the creative/publishing journey. Revising is a team sport and we all need to find the people who will be real with us, who will hold our hand when it needs holding, and who will push us when we need to be pushed. So please take advantage of all that Pitch Wars has to offer because it’s so much more than a mentoring competition (although Kim and I are on pins and needles waiting to read all your amazing stories!). Above all, make sure to make friends with your fellow Pitch Warriors!
For more information on Pitch Wars and what it's all about, visit: What is Pitch Wars?
Hi, I’m Megan! As a writer of YA fantasy, I am a 2016 Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness alum, as well as an active member in the YA community. I run a blog for readers and writers where I interview authors (*whispers* it’s really a ruse so I can ask them all the craft questions I want!) right here on Megan Write Now.
2018 is my first year mentoring, though I’ve been critiquing manuscripts for the last 7 years, and I’m giddy at the chance to give back to the community that has given me so much.
I gravitate toward lush books with literary slants, hooky voices, and magic. In addition to living the writing life (and all that comes with it!), I love photography, exploring, singing off-key in my car, collecting artwork, wandering around museums, traveling, and walking the dirt roads with my doggie sidekick. I'm a mom of two raging extroverts ages 7 and 5 who make me laugh, and are hands-down the best people I know. Oh, and I was once interviewed by Yin Chang on 88 Cups of Tea (aka: THE BEST WRITING PODCAST EVER!!!!). If that piques your interest, you can catch a listen here: 88 Cups of Tea: 88th Episode.
A random assortment of fav books include:
An equally random assortment of favorite movies/TV shows:
And here comes the wishlist portion of this blog post...
Are you ready for it?
WHAT ARE WE HOPING TO SEE IN OUR INBOX?
YOUNG ADULT FANTASY, but this is IMPORTANT: While we love reading epic fantasy, we’re not the best mentors for stories with overly complex histories and a huge cast of characters. Epic isn’t an automatic pass, but we’d prefer something a little quieter. Think stories where the fate of the world isn’t the focus, but ones where the plot is centered around the characters and their personal stakes (a great example of this is THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater).
Submissions we want to see include:
Retellings and reimaginings with magic
Alternate history or secret history with magical elements
Contemporary with magic and/or speculative fiction elements
Low fantasy (i.e. smaller stakes)
Light sci-fi (driven by characters, not the technology, as in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles)
Other elements we can’t get enough of:
Heroines who save themselves
Romantic subplots! We love books with kissing, swoons, and sexual tension!
Voice is key! We can work with anything if we fall head over heels for the voice.
Morally ambiguous characters--we crave a good love/hate relationship with our villains! Think The Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s SHADOW AND BONE trilogy. Or Loki.
Worlds that feel just like characters
Villain origin stories!
A sense of humor. Kim and I love to laugh!
Manuscripts that subvert common tropes
Enemies to lovers
Slow burn romance
Examples of the types of subs we’d LOVE to see:
THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater
GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
SEA WITCH by Sarah Henning
TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo
THE DISAPPEARANCES by Emily Bain Murphy
SUMMER OF SALT by Katrina Leno
HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer
Please DON'T send us:
MG, NA, or Adult (we’re only mentoring YA)
Straight up thrillers
Contemporary (unless it involves magic)
Novels in verse
Stories that focus on abusive relationships
Third person omniscient POV
Stories that feature explicit torture and violence to animals
Keep in mind, we’re also not the right mentors to critique books that focus on suicide or rape.
If you’re still in doubt, ask. Kim and I are both active on Twitter, so feel free to @ us at the links listed below. It’s really important to make sure the mentors you’re subbing to are a good fit for your story’s main elements (but please don’t pitch us your book).
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM US AS MENTORS?
First there will be an edit letter which will thoroughly detail all of our feedback and will address all the big picture issues, such as plot holes, character arcs, etc. Edit letters are lengthy and can be intimidating, but you can count on us to be there for you every step of the way. Ultimately, our goal is to help you unearth the solutions that best complement your vision.
After we’ve fixed the big things, the next step will be to tackle the in-line edits. These edits will address the book on a micro level--so it’s all the little things (for example: passive language and show don’t tell) that will elevate your manuscript to the next level, making it all shiny to catch an agent’s eye.
In addition to the manuscript, we will also help you refine your query letter (Kim is seriously so good at them!) and we'll work with you to craft a killer pitch for use in the agent round!
In terms of communication, we are very hands on and flexible. Kim and I are open to emailing, Skype, talking on the phone, or text. Really, it’s whatever works for you! We’re ALL ABOUT COMMUNICATION during this process.
WHY YOU SHOULD SUBMIT TO US!
My strengths: line edits, pacing, identifying places to increase tension, show vs. tell, romance, and highlighting passive language. I’m very direct when it comes to pointing out issues, but I won’t ever force a solution on you, or leave you hanging. I’m always game for brainstorming and helping you find the best ways to strengthen the vision you have for your manuscript.
Kim’s strengths: pinpointing big picture problems, strengthening character emotion and stakes, fleshing out character arcs, and asking the nitty-gritty questions that lead to clearer prose. Kim is also one of the most enthusiastic, driven, and honest people I know, so you couldn’t ask for a better cheerleader for you and your work! She’s the pep talk queen! Seriously… have you seen her motivational videos?!
We're an amazing team! You can count on us to be enthusiastic about your project. We’re here to work with you and we’re always open to questions, brainstorming, and hashing out the best way to fix those pesky plot holes. If Kim and I pick you, we’re choosing you because of the enormous potential we see in you and your manuscript, but Pitch Wars is a lot of work. There's a good chance it's going to require extensive rewrites on your part, and we won’t shy away from telling you that because we want your book to be the absolute best it can be.
So if your manuscript lines up with our wishlist, and you’re open to constructive criticism, and not afraid of rewrites, please sub to us on August 27th! Kim and I can’t wait to read your words!
AND GUESS WHAT . . . THERE'S MORE!
For a behind-the scenes glimpse into how Kim and I work together as critique partners, click on the logo below to be magically transported to Kim's blog for a video (and find out what attributes we're looking for in a mentee)!!!
Don't forget to scroll down to check out the rest of the 2018 Young Adult Mentors, or click here to visit the official Pitch Wars page for a index of all the wishlists. 😊
Do you still have Pitch Wars questions?
On August 16, from 8-10 pm ET, Pitch Wars will be inviting hopefuls to ask questions on Twitter. Be sure to tag your post using both the #pitchwars and the #askmentor tag. Kim and I will be participating, but you can always @ us on Twitter if you have a question before (and after!) the chat!
And, as always,